Kip Lornell

Lion with a hat
Adjunct professor of Ethnomusicology and History
Phillips B-142
[email protected]


Kip Lornell has been teaching courses in American music and ethnomusicology at GW since 1992.  

Current Position and Current Research

  • Currently, Lornell is researching and writing about vernacular music in the United States since 1970, in which much of it is informed by fieldwork in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.


  • Lornell and Charles Wolfe earned the ASCAP—Deems Taylor book award for The Life and Legend of Leadbelly (Harper Collins, 1993).
  • Lornell won a 1997 Grammy for his contribution to the album notes for Smithsonian Folkways “Anthology of American Folk Music.”
  • Lornell's sixteenth book, Capital Bluegrass: Hillbilly Music Meets Urban Culture, is complete and under contract with Oxford University Press.
  • His most recent book, The Blues Come to Texas Paul Oliver and Mack McCormick's Unfinished Book, Compiled by Alan Govenar with Documentation and Essays by Alan Govenar and Kip Lornell, was published by Texas A & M Press, in January 2019.  
  • In addition to these books, he has published 102 articles or essays in scholarly and popular journals & magazines and has presented a similar number of talks and lectures & papers at scholarly meetings and universities across the United States.


Ph.D. University of Memphis, 1983

Professional Organizations

  • Since the early 1980s, Kip Lornell has been an active member of the Society for American Music and the Society for Ethnomusicology. In 2014, he founded the D.C. Vernacular Music Archives, which is housed at Gelman Library.